The “5-Point Physical Demand Scale” in Personal Injury Cases

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When a person is injured, the ability of the injured person to continue to perform his or her job often becomes an issue. If the injured person claims a disability that prevents him or her from performing a job, the injured person may have to prove this in court. In order to do so, the case of the injured person can often be helped by the testimony of medical professionals as well as vocational experts.

A vocational expert can testify to a host of matters related to workplace performance and expectations. One of these matters is the “5-Point Physical Demand Scale.” This scale was created by the U.S. Department of Labor, and provides employers and employees with clear explanations of the kinds of physical demands that can be expected in different types of positions.

The 5-Point Physical Demand Scale

  1. Sedentary Work involves:
    1. Exerting up to 10 lbs of force occasionally, and/or a negligible amount of force to lift or carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body;
    2. Sitting most of the time;
    3. Standing and walking occasionally.
  2. Light Work involves:
    1. Exerting 20 lbs of force occasionally, and/or 10 lbs of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects;
    2. Even if weight exertion is negligible, walking or standing to a significant degree, and/or
    3. Sitting most of the time but with pushing or pulling of arm or leg controls, and/or
    4. Working at a production rate pace entailing constant pushing and/or pulling of materials.
  3. Medium Work involves:
    1. Exerting 20-50 lbs of force occasionally, and/or
    2. up to 10-25 lbs of force frequently, and/or
    3. up to 10 lbs of force constantly to move objects.
  4. Heavy Work involves:
    1. Exerting 50-100 lbs of force occasionally, and/or
    2. Up to 25-50 lbs of force frequently, and/or
    3. 10-20 lbs of force constantly to move objects.
  5. Very Heavy Work involves:
    1. Exerting in excess of 100 lbs of force occasionally, and/or
    2. In excess of 50 lbs of force frequently, and/or
    3. In excess of 20 lbs of force constantly to move objects.

The vocational expert uses the Department of Labor’s “5-Point Physical Demand Scale” to describe the physical demands of the Plaintiff’s pre-injury employment as well as to determine  what if any work the Plaintiff can perform given their injuries and physical limitations.  It is important because Vocational experts use to evaluate the Plaintiff’s future employability.

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) is one of the top companies providing vocational expert and life care planning services for seriously injured persons  in the United States.  We have extensive experience creating employability evaluations and life care plans for plaintiffs who have suffered serious  injuries.   Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help with your case.